The UK is plunging into ever-deeper political dysfunction. Could we suffer the same fate? If so, how can we prevent it?
Many political, economic and social trends over recent decades have significantly changed British society and created widening rifts in it. But the political system failed to change with the country. For some semblance of stability, the country still relies on two major parties alternating in power to rectify damage caused by bad policies, and to refresh voters’ hopes for progress.
However, the parties themselves did change. Labour and Conservative used to have among their members and MPs a wide range of political views from the centre to the far left and right respectively. Party and parliamentary discipline just about kept them functional in either government or opposition.
But both those disciplines have broken down. Party membership has shrunk dramatically as members of the public became too busy or too disenchanted to join; and parliamentary caucuses have become highly fractious because of weak leadership, single issue campaigns and loss of collective responsibility.